Performance-Based Tier I Certification: Educational Leadership


Program Overview

The Tier I Certification program in Educational Leadership provides candidates who already hold master’s degrees in education with the content knowledge and credentials necessary to effectively lead schools, districts, and multi-million dollar educational organizations. Applicants accepted into the program beginning in the Fall of 2021, completing all degree requirements, will be eligible for a Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC) Tier I Leadership Certification.

The Tier I Certification is an eighteen (18) hour program that is typically completed in three (3) semesters (classes available every spring/summer/fall). The certification leads to a clear renewable Tier I leadership certification (L5) in Georgia and is fully approved by the GaPSC. Candidates earning the degree who move to states in which leadership certification is also conferred at the MED level may be eligible for professional licensure in that state through reciprocity.

The program is highly professionally oriented, and candidates for the program are expected to currently be employed in a professional role in an organization providing professional educational services (e.g., school, regional educational service agency, department of education).  Field activities accompany the semester’s work to provide a synthesis of the practical and theoretical knowledge necessary for today’s educational leader. At the conclusion of the program, candidates will possess the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to lead schools to higher levels of achievement for all students.

Tier I Certification program  at a Glance

  • Fully Online
  • Eighteen (18) hours
  • Typically Completed in 1 Year, Taking 2 Courses Per Semester
* Please note: The GaPSC requires that students complete assessments prior to enrollment and completion in programs that lead to certification (M.Ed. and Tier I Certification Only). The GACE Leadership Ethics Exam must be taken prior to enrollment in certification programs, and the GACE Educational Leadership content exam must be taken in order to be certified. Students who have taken the Ethics Exam in a M.Ed./Tier I program do not need to re-take for enrollment into the Ed.S./Tier II.

Program of Study

Required Certification Courses (18 hours)

EDL 7201 Leading Curriculum and Assessment
EDL 7315 Data Analysis School Leaders
EDL 7401 Instructional Leadership for Learning & Change
EDL 7415 Human Resources, Law, and Ethics for school leaders
EDL 7601 School Operations and Organizational Management
EDL 7615 Communication and community relations for school leaders

Admission Requirements

  • Master’s degree in an educational field
  • Employment role in an organization providing educational services
  • 2.75 GPA in bachelor's degree coursework or most recent graduate degree
  • Professionally qualified supervisor to serve as a mentor during the program (must hold at least a Georgia L5 certificate upgrade).
  • Transcripts from each college attended
  • Clear and Renewable Georgia Teaching Certificate
  • 2 Years of Teaching Experience
  • Professional Resume
  • GACE Leadership Ethics Exam 
  • Reference and Mentor Forms 

Deadlines for Applications

Spring, November 1 
Summer, April 1
Fall, July 1

Contact Us

For additional questions, please email the Program Coordinator, Dr. Cathey Goodgame, at or call (470) 578-6888 or email edldepartment@kennesaw.edufor additional information.